Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gangway Advertising Gains a New Employee

Have you ever heard that saying, "Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it"? Well the Universe smacked me upside the head with that one this week.

I have had this blog for several years. I started it as a way to keep in touch with family members who lived out of town and share pictures and video to keep them connected to my son (mainly). But what it soon turned into was a fabulously creative outlet for me to express my views on my life, and not just as someone's Mom. I began to express thoughts on life as a working Mom in general, my views on current events and the world at large, product and movie reviews, etc.

Then I started a Facebook page, I got connected on LinkedIn, I created a YouTube channel, I uploaded photos to Photobucket and Flickr, and I became addicted to twitter. It was my foray into the Twittersphere earlier this year that made the light bulb go off. I began to really realize the marketing angles and implications these social media channels could offer businesses. Especially small businesses.

My husband runs a boutique advertising agency here in Dallas called Gangway Advertising. So, one day (or night, I can't remember now) I said to him, "Why are you not utilizing these social media sites for your clients? This is something they need to be doing!" And he said, "Tell me your ideas." And so it began. I researched the sites, attended some conferences and immersed myself in the local Social Media club scene. I developed a comprehensive strategy for a couple of clients and off we went to pitch our ideas. The exciting thing was that every meeting we went on, I would get 15 minutes into my presentation and the client would say, "Done. Sold. Where do I sign." If you are a sales person of any sort - when was the last time that happened to you?!

So, I would work my full-time job during the day, come home, do my Mom thing and then get on the computer and work till midnight every night to implement what we had sold these companies. Whew. In the back of my mind I thought that the best-case scenario would be that as we added clients and the work load started to tip, it would get to a point where Randy would either hire someone to come on board and take this thing over or I would jump ship and do this full-time. I even put it out to the Universe several times by saying (out loud), "How many clients would we have to have before I could quit my job and just do this for a living?" To which my husband would then get all red in the face and start to sweat and tell me I was talking crazy. I kind of think it was more the idea of having me work with him in the same office shadowing his every move that put the fear of God in him...

I started out this post by saying, "Be careful what you wish for..." (Hey, it just occurred to me that the Pussycat Dolls use this in a song.) This week, word of my after-hours activities made their way upstairs to the powers that be at my day job and they canned me. Said it was a "conflict of interest". To which I replied (in my head), "See ya suckers." Truly, their loss is now my clients gain. Humpf - said with hair toss and eye-brow raised.

So, I have decided (or it was decided for me) that I am now a full-fledged partner in Gangway Advertising. I am painting my new office and setting up meetings as we speak. I am very excited - and somewhat apprehensive - about the new road ahead of me. But I am a girl who keeps her eye on the prize and I only know one speed - and that's full-speed ahead.

So, if your phone rings in the next couple of weeks, it will probably be me. Wanting to come tell you what I'm doing and show you how social media can work for you. And if you need a website designed or overhauled - Randy's your man. If you need a brochure, catalog, logo, letterhead/business cards, party invitations, direct mail, print ads, billboard created or printed - Randy's your man. If you need a media buyer to take your budget and develop a plan for you, place your media and handle the invoicing - well, both of us do that.

My primary function is to handle Social Media strategies for our clients. Media has traditionally provided a one-way channel of communication. Companies have become accustomed to telling you what you want and shouting their marketing messages at you. Usually, the loudest voice (ie, biggest budget = biggest reach) wins. What social media has done, is create a two-way conversation where consumers can now tell you what they want, how to make your product better or why it sucks. Are you listening? You'd better be. Companies who are not listening or showing interest in engaging their consumer bases will soon find themselves left in the dust to wither up and die a slow, financially painful death.

I look forward to showing people how these exciting new social media channels can work to increase their customer service, garner them press coverage, create brand evangelists, build a fan base and increase traffic to their stores or websites.

So, call me. Email me. Tweet me. I am available. Anytime.